Conference Realignment as WWII

A few weeks ago, when all this A&M to SEC talk heated up, I saw a comment that made me stop and think.  Somebody was comparing the possible move to the attack on Pearl Harbor, with the SEC as Japan.

My immediate thought was, "What an idiot, this is nothing like Pearl Harbor," but my very next thought was, "So, who would all the players in this conference realignment equate to in a comparison with WWII?"

And thus this post was born.  Or rather, the idea for this post began to form in my mind, since a post (being a non-living and fairly abstract thing) is incapable of being born.  So, who is KSU?  Who is the evil villain Germany and who is the hapless Poland, torn apart before the war even really begins?

Well, the big surprise for most people is probably that the USA isn’t the Big 12.  It’s the Big East.  For everyone else the biggest surprise is that the League of Nations is the NCAA, but those people are idiots.

Here is the rundown.

Germany = Big 10


USA = Big East

Austria = Penn State

China = ACC/SWC

Hawaii = TCU

Switzerland = Notre Dame

India = BYU

Japan = SEC

Allied/Occupied Europe = Big 12

League of Nations = NCAA

     Baltic States = Utah

Great Britain = Texas

France = Missouri

Spain = A&M

West Poland = Nebraska

Netherlands/Belgium/Denmark = KSU/ISU/KU

East Poland = Colorado

North Africa = OU/TT/OSU/Baylor


Allow me to explain.



This makes too much sense.  You have a big traditional power that, despite some recent down-times, has reemerged stronger than ever.  They have a novel new form of warfare that other powers don’t know how to counter just yet (Blitzkrieg/Conference Network).  They recently annexed another old independent power (Austria/Penn State) and most everyone just shrugged because they were already so much alike anyway.  And they are evil.  There is just too much correlation here for this not to be the correct pairing.



Wait, didn’t I say that Texas A&M was nothing like Pearl Harbor?  Of course it isn’t.  Have you been to Pearl Harbor?  Have you been to College Station?  I rest my case.  Besides, the SEC can still be Japan because in my scenario Pearl Harbor hasn’t happened yet.  How else is the SEC like Japan?  Well, I know that with our modern hindsight we clearly know that although Japan seemed to be powerful at the time, they were on the verge of economic/militaristic collapse before they invaded Pearl Harbor.  At the time, however, they seemed like this great, unconquerable world power.  Most Americans did not realize that the War in the Pacific could be won by just outlasting the Japanese, since they were quickly running out of oil.  Much like the modern SEC.  Sure, they seem like America’s best conference, poised to gobble everything up in their path to world domination.  But guess what, according to this scenario, they are actually on the brink of financial ruin.  That is why they need some new TV markets.  They, of course, won’t tip their hands on this, but you can rest assured it is a fact (in the sense that it is most likely untrue).  Furthermore, when they grabbed Arkansas and South Carolina in 1991, that was roughly analogous to them invading China and Manchuria in 1938.  That was one year before Hitler annexed Austria, and coincidentally, the SECs expansion was 2 years before the Big 10 (Germany) annexed Penn State.  In my wacky timeline adopted for this scenario that is significant.



Since this correlation is necessary for my SEC as Japan thing to work, I am going to assume there are some interesting parallels here.  Move along.



This one is a little bit more of a stretch, but perhaps the most damning correlation is that lefty West-coast liberals make up the majority of the fan-base for the conference.  Also, they basically tag-teamed the Big 12 with the Big 10 just like Germany and the Soviet Union did to Poland right before WWII started.  Since Germany is already taken, that makes them the Soviet Union.


[Allied/Occupied Europe]/Big 12

For my comparison to work I have to bundle pre-war Europe together in a manner that did not necessarily reflect diplomatic realities at the time.  It’s not like the EU existed back then.  However, since the Big 12 kind of behaved more like a confederation of independent entities as opposed to a unified country I think the comparison is appropriate.



Since I have already decided Germany and the Soviet Union, this pretty much mandates that Nebraska is West Poland and Colorado is East Poland.  Poland was partitioned between the two powers in the event that precipitated WWII. Another part of that agreement was that the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, etc.) went to the USSR.  I guess that would be Utah (not as choice as Colorado and kind of a consolation prize).  In addition to the requirements imposed by my previous decisions, Poland fits these two schools because it emerged briefly as a strong power before being cannibalized by the changing times and not being able to keep up.  Sounds very much like the Colorado and Nebraska football programs.


Great Britain/Texas

This is another perfect match.  Texas (Great Britain) has long held to an aloof stance with the rest of the conference (mainland Europe).  They have a national (global) empire that makes them largely self-sustaining.  They don’t really need the rest of the conference (mainland Europe) and are not too concerned with them because they can make it on their own.  If they have to go independent, they can just rely on their extensive market power (global empire) to remain competitive.  And they are both frustratingly arrogant.

Also, in a much weaker connection, DeLoss Dodds can be seen a bit like Neville Chamberlain, practicing appeasement with the bully conferences instead of fighting back against them.  Yes, that is a bit of a stretch, but there will be much bigger ones, so hang with me here.



OK, so why do I have Missouri, arguably not the second most powerful team in the Big 12, representing the second most powerful nation of Allied/Occupied Europe?  Mainly because they are the most likely to fold under the B1G (German) onslaught and become a puppet school (state).  Yes, they will keep their status as a sovereign university, but you can be rest assured that the Big 10 is pulling all the strings.  And Missouri will of course pretend that’s the way they like it.  I’m assuming that when historians write this history in several decades this phase of Missouri history will be known as Haith Missouri.  It will be a mark of shame for countless Tiger generations.



So, if aTm isn’t Hawaii, who are they?  Why, Spain of course.  You see, during WWII Spain was ruled by the fascist dictator Francisco Franco (R. Bowen Loftin).  In order to obtain power, Franco had to win a bloody civil war that devastated Spain, making nearly incapable of engaging in war activities.  Thus, even though he nominally supported the Axis, he was unable to wholly commit to their cause, and Spain largely remained on the sidelines during WWII.  That is what will happen with A&M.  They are going to leave the Big 12, expecting some offer from the SEC, but they are going to be left along the road of conference independence.  They will not enjoy it there, but it will be a long time before they find any relief.  Britain and Spain were also huge rivals back in the day.


North Africa/[OU/TT/OSU/Baylor]

Another weak comparison, but it has some merit.  You see, North Africa actually turned out to be a really strong asset for Great Britain in their fight against the Nazis, much as OU is a really great asset for Texas.  They are linked.  In fact, like much of the rest of the Big 12 South, they are prepared to do whatever Texas tells them to do, and they are seen as much more valuable than their Northern brethren.



Almost self-explanatory.  These Northern European states were simply too small to stand any chance of holding back the German advance.  They do put up a valiant underground resistance (way before France does) however.  In the end, though, they are completely reliant on the Allied powers invading and pushing the Germans back.


Switzerland/Notre Dame

Switzerland is the king of neutral countries.  Why do you think the Pope has a Swiss Guard?  Because back then, the Swiss vowed to remain neutral in every conflict.  As a result, they became the banking capital of the world.  Unfortunately, their reign of absolute neutrality came to an end during WWII.  Outwardly they remained neutral, but internally they were handing over valuable Jewish heirlooms and bank accounts to German officials.  It is hard to maintain principled neutrality when the German military is literally on your doorstep demanding these things, but still, it happened.  Notre Dame, of course, is the king of independents.  They have a lucrative broadcasting deal with NBC.  Unfortunately, they are secretly in cahoots with the B1G despite maintaining all appearances of outward neutrality.  (Trust me, this has to be true.  How could my scenario be wrong?)



I could probably have left this one out, but I felt that BYU needed to be included somewhere.  During WWII, India was actually still under the control of Great Britain.  So that is different from our current situation with BYU being independent.  However, if BYU joins the Big 12, it could go long way towards helping us survive, just as India’s resources and manpower helped Britain survive the Germans.  Also, India achieved independence just after the war ended, so you could kind of link that if you really wanted to stretch things.


USA/Big East

"Baloney!" I hear you say.  Actually, I hear you say many other things, but I think ‘baloney’ nicely sums them up.  What makes this metaphor work so well is a couple of things.  First, at the time that WWII broke out, nobody thought much of American ability.  We were in many ways still a backwater country in the minds of the rest of the "civilized" world.  Our military still made great use of cavalry, and by that I mean actual horses.  Similarly, the Big East is, to put it nicely, lightly regarded in most football circles.  But that will change when the chips are down and they have their collective backs up against the wall.

Secondly, sometime before WWII (like 40 years), America annexed Hawaii.  Now, this is not a prefect comparison, because the timeline is so skewed, but the Big East just acquired TCU.  In fact, you could consider all of America’s "acquisitions" resulting from the Spanish-American War (Guam, Philippines, Wake Island and Hawaii) as being represented by TCU.  It was a big boon to our interests in the Pacific, just as TCU is a big boon to the Big East’s interests in out West.  Furthermore, just as America simultaneously opposed imperialism and then practiced a form of it after the Spanish-American War, the Big East purports to call itself the Big East, even though it has a member way out West in Texas.

Finally, when WWII broke out, America did not jump into the fray right away.  They did, however, offer to help Great Britain out as best they could short of declaring open war.  Known as Lend-Lease, this informal alliance helped Britain stave the Germans before America was able to fully engage herself.  A direct parallel can be drawn here to the Big East offering to team up with the Big 12 and the ACC to discuss how to handle conference realignment going forward.


League of Nations/NCAA

The League of Nations was set up at the end of WWI to prevent another Great War from ever happening again.  It was meant to be an organization that could serve as arbiter amongst the countries of the world and manage disputes in a civil manner.  Twenty short years later another world war erupted that dwarfed the previous.  That sounds almost as ineffective as the NCAA is in trying to enforce its byzantine rule structure.  And like the NCAA, the League of Nations ws largely irrelevant.  Need I say more?


The Interesting Part

Here comes the interesting part.  Now that we know who everyone is and where we roughly are in the course of our WWII comparison, we can predict the future of this realignment process.

To start things off, aTm will leave but not receive an invite from the SEC.  Everyone will promptly forget about them for several decades.

Shortly thereafter, Mizzou will start complaining and claim they have a standing offer to join the B1G.

The Big East, in an attempt to support the rapidly sinking Big 12, will then "lend" us Louisville.  We add BYU and Air Force to get back to 12 teams and keep our heads above water.

This is when the SEC strikes.  In a bold move that in retrospect will be considered foolish, the SEC lures TCU from the Big East, along with WVU.  Why do they take TCU but not aTm?  Well, it is the SEC, nobody accused them of being smart.  This of course ticks off the Big East and they declare war on not only the SEC but the B1G as well.  The SEC also makes moves towards the Arizona schools (Siberia/Kamchatka), which puts them at war with the PAC 12, but they never make serious inroads in this direction.

At the same time the B1G seems to disregard all logic when they ignore the well-known saying (never invade Hollywood during sweeps) and entice UCLA and Colorado to join the B1G.  All hell breaks loose.  The PAC 12 is on its heels, trying to push back.  The B1G decides to go for it all and they make a play for USC.  At this point, the PAC 12 doesn’t even have enough ammunition to push back against the B1G, but somehow, they hold onto USC (and OU, on a different front), and then sweeps hits and everyone in LA is so preoccupied with ratings that nobody pays any attention to the repeated overture from the B1G.  They fall back and try to recoup their losses.

The Big East, recognizing that the B1G poses a greater threat to mankind, decides to focus their efforts there first before dealing with the SEC.  However they do manage to mend things with TCU and get them back on board (rebuilding the Pacific Fleet).  The next step in the process involves winning back Missouri, who everyone at this point realizes is just a puppet for the B1G.

On the Big 12 front, Texas pushes back against B1G forces in Norman and manages to hold onto OU and the rest of the Big 12 South, surprising pretty much everyone.  The PAC 12 has emerged from sweeps and now is pushing hard back against the B1G and has pulled UCLA back into the fold.  Fighting is still fierce over Colorado.

The Big East has finally caught up to speed, and the invasion of Colombia is underway.  Known as Operation Playoffs, the Big East/Big 12 initially pretends to lure Illinois by scheduling some charter jets to Chicago, but at the last second they descend on Colombia in a fleet of limousines and private helicopters with fists full of cash.  B1G operatives put up a nasty fight, but the Allies win the day and Missouri pledges their full support to the Big 12.

Concurrently, the PAC 12 pushes forward with the assault on the B1g and win back Colorado.  With the enemy on their heels they push towards Nebraska, but mysteriously stop their advance temporarily while Nebraska plays through a season in which they lose every single conference game (this the year after winning the conference championship.  As soon as the season ends the B1G pulls out and washes their hands of Nebraska, and the PAC 12 swoops in to scoop up the broken pieces.

Now the race is on for B1G headquarters: Colombus, OH.  Both the Big East/Big 12 make strong plays to nab the beleaguered Buckeyes, but just before they can close the deal the PAC 12 swoops in and claims victory.  The B1G commissioner Jim Delaney resigns before he can be fired, and the war in the heartland is essentially at an end.

Meanwhile, in the Southeast, the Big East has made considerable strides.  They have liberated both Arkansas (to the Big 12 ala Hong Kong to Britain) and South Carolina (to the ACC).  The Big East has reclaimed WVU while picking up Tennessee.  The SEC refuses to surrender, however, and in order to save countless student-athletes from being corrupted; they use the nuclear option and expose the rank corruption of the SEC by uncovering numerous misdeeds perpetrated by flagship programs Alabama, Auburn, Florida and LSU.  Awed by the severity of the sanctions placed against them, the SEC surrenders and is placed under Big East control.

With both wars coming to a conclusion, the Big Three (Larry Scott, Big 12 commissioner (whoever replaces Beebe and becomes our Churchill), and the Big East commissioner (for most of this saga it was John Marinatto, but he died in office and was replaced)) meet to decide the fate of the college football world.

 The set up a new order to oversee the landscape, replacing the ineffective and useless NCAA with a more sustainable organization that imposes reasonable common sense restrictions on its members and enforces a logical playoff post-season format.  They divide the old B1G into spheres of influence, with the Big 12/Big East alliance taking half the revenue from part of the conference and the PAC 12 taking half the share from the other half of the conference.  A stipulation is also added to the B1G charter that they shall never again consider expansion, and their divisions will never be named ‘Legends’ and ‘Leaders’ again. Nebraska is returned to the Big 12, a shell of its former self, but Colorado remains with the Pac 12.  The Big East oversees the gradual rebuilding of the SEC, and the Big 12 gives Louisville back to the Big East.

 The Big 12 embarks on a new era of unity, with a conference network and equal revenue sharing.  Except for Texas, of course.  Texas keeps its LHN and greater share of the pie status, but everybody else splits everything.  Just like Great Britain is a "member" of the EU but doesn't have to use the Euro.

 BYU goes back to independence after an LDS devotee stages a hunger strike, and Notre Dame continues on in their independent status, even though everyone knows their dark secret of helping the B1G.


This is how the conferences look at the dawn of the new era.

Big 12











Air Force (to replace BYU)



*other school

*After several decades we take pity on the Aggies and invite them back in along with some other school to get us to twelve


Big East










Notre Dame


*Boston College

*From the ACC in exchange for South Carolina and keeping them alive.






North Carolina State

Florida State


Georgia Tech

Virginia Tech


Wake Forest


South Carolina









Mississippi State


Ole Miss



*Added in desperation to get to ten.


B1G (PAC 12)

Ohio State


Penn State


Michigan State


B1G (Big 12/Big East)









PAC 12



Arizona State







Washington State

Oregon State

*Boise State



*Added when the Big 12 moves to 14, not wanting to be outdone.


Please comment and tell me what you think.  Feel free to offer suggestions, corrections or any other input you desire.  I am willing to entertain the idea of changing some of this with persuasive arguments.

Credit must also go to GrumpyCat for giving me inspiration with his original post. Also thanks to MeatGeek for pointing out that TCU isn't in West Texas, although it is in the West and it is in Texas.

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